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POLICE & COURTS

Assault charge lodged after car targets man

A Buffalo woman deliberately drove a car into a man Friday night on Abbott Road, police said.

Helen Velazquez, 33, was southbound on Abbott at about 10:30 p.m. when, according to witnesses, she yelled something at the man, South District police said. She then turned her car around and struck the man with her car, police added.

Charles Robbins, 42, was taken to Erie County Medical Center, where he was treated and released.

Velazquez was charged with driving while intoxicated and vehicular assault.

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Pickup driver badly hurt in crash at Wilson junction

WILSON -- A man was listed in critical condition Saturday in Erie County Medical Center after his pickup crashed at Cambria-Wilson and New roads, Town of Wilson.

Niagara County sheriff's officials were called to the scene at about 12:40 a.m. They found the driver, whose name was not released, in the road. He had apparently been ejected from his pickup truck.

Investigators believe the truck was southbound on Cambria-Wilson when it went off the west side of the road, struck a fire hydrant, a tree and an embankment before re-entering the road and then ended up on the other side of the road in a front yard.

The driver, whose identity has not been released, was taken by Mercy Flight to ECMC.

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Fire hits three houses overnight, early Saturday

City firefighters battled three blazes overnight and this morning, officials said.

The first was reported at about 10:20 p.m. at 218 Wilson St. The fire started in the first floor of a two-story house and spread to the second, causing $25,000 in damage.

The cause was under investigation.

At about 5:30 a.m., a fire started by careless smoking was reported in a second-floor kitchen at 626 E. Ferry St. The blaze caused $15,000 in damages.

About 15 minutes later, a fire was reported at a two-story vacant house at 14 Titus Ave. The blaze caused $25,000 in damage.

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Police arrest woman, 29, as scofflaw in traffic cases

Lateaya M. Truitt, 29, is being held as a scofflaw on parking and traffic violations.

Truitt, no home address listed, was arrested by Officer John Yuhnke at Main and Bryant streets at about 5 p.m. Thursday and charged with aggravated unlicensed driving and driving with a suspended registration linked to a January traffic summons she allegedly ignored.

According to police reports, a state Motor Vehicle Department check showed she had ignored nearly two dozen traffic summonses and parking tickets in recent years.

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Two teens escape with $20 in mugging on East Delavan

A man was mugged at knifepoint Friday night by two teenagers on East Delavan Avenue and Roslyn Street, police said.

The victim said the robbery happened shortly before 11 p.m. He told police the muggers took $20 in cash from him.

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Brooklyn woman gets jail for importing Ecstasy

A Brooklyn woman who was convicted of importing a controlled substance was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.

Prosecutors said Miquel Marie-Latoya Smith, 38, imported more than 25,000 Ecstasy tablets into the United States from Canada. She was arrested Feb. 28, 2010, at the Peace Bridge, where the drugs -- valued at more than $629,175 -- were found in the trunk of her car, authorities said.

The Ecstasy was destined for distribution in Atlanta, federal officials said.

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Couple who went drinking faces endangerment charges

Police charged a Buffalo couple with endangering the welfare of a child after they left their 3-year-old daughter and a mentally disabled relative in their car while they went out drinking, police said.

Julia Natanski, 20, and Robert Rohrback, 25, of East Street, were arrested by Officers John Cirulli and Jay Reuther at about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, after they found the young daughter and Rohrback's younger brother alone in a car.

The two also were charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent person. Rohrback's brother is physically unable to care for himself, police said.

The officers reported the couple's actions "could have been injurious" to both victims.